“Allow us to sit one at Your right hand and the other at your left in Your glory” (Mark 10: 37)
Does it surprise you that even after two significant explanations of His kind of Kingdom and Messiahship, the disciples still do not understand? This is what happens when we are stock to our opinions and positions. James and John still thought of Jesus as a powerful political king who will come to rule on the kingly throne like King David. This is why they came up with this selfish, inconsiderate and ambitious request. But Jesus calmly and patiently seized the opportunity to teach them what true discipleship is about – that it is about being different. That is, it is about being in the world and not being of the world (John 17: 14-19). That it is not about power but service; not the crown but the cross; not sitting on the throne but washing the feet of others; not being the first but the last; not being a lord but a little child. That the path to glory is through self-sacrifice. To be a disciple of Jesus, one must be ready to turn the standards of the world on its head; not act like the Gentiles, who lord it over but act like Christ, who came to serve and truly served. This is what we are called to do right form the day of our baptism, from the day we gave our lives to Christ. We are called to be a “sign of contradiction.”
Sometimes we too can get so selfish, inconsiderate and ambitious like James and John. Many time we strive after power and influence as though they were the only necessary ideals worth pursuing. Have we ever asked ourselves why and for what purpose we seek power? Is it to serve or to dominate, to uplift or to suppress, to empower or to deprive, to transform or to deform? How often do we pause to consider the feelings and the needs of others in our quests? There are times also when the cross becomes very heavy and the sacrifice become unbearable; there are times when the darkness seems encompassing and we find it very difficult to understand what it means to be a disciple and to follow Jesus.
At such times we pray, Lord open the mind of my heart to understand what Your call hold for me and the grace to keep holding on and persevering in my struggle to love You and serve You in my neighbours, especially in those placed under me. Amen.